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The Cheapest Way to Book Hyatt Stays on Points

No matter how many miles you’re generating in manufactured spending each month, parting with them is never easy. One way to combat this is by making sure you are getting decent value out of your redemptions. That’s how I can feel good about dumping hard-earned miles and points – knowing I saved a decent amount of cash by doing so.

Hyatt Regency Maui

Hyatt Regency Maui

It takes three months to generate $30,000 of manufactured spend via American Express gift cards and too many unpleasant trips to the grocery store, Target, and/or Walmart to unload them all. All that hard work and the only thing you’re getting is a single free night at the Park Hyatt Sydney? It almost seems like a waste of time. Of course, you can also opt to redeem those points for 6 nights at a Category 1 hotel, but the best way to deal with separation anxiety is to maximize your redemption value while also minimizing the amount of manufactured spending you need to do in order to meet your travel goals.

So what is the most effective way to manufacture spend your way to free Hyatt stays? I’ve put together a chart below that outlines the amount of points and Points + Cash required for a stay across the seven Hyatt hotel categories. Below that, you’ll find a comparison of how much manufactured spending is required to earn those points on the co-branded Hyatt, Barclay Arrival Plus, and Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards. Since Chase recently announced it would discontinue the 7% dividend on the Sapphire Preferred card in 2015, I’m leaving out that 7% bonus to (and to keep this post evergreen). In addition, the “pay yourself back” option will be eliminated so I have adjusted the table to reflect that. The portion referencing Ultimate Rewards bookings takes into account the 20% bonus for direct Ultimate Rewards travel bookings.

All of the cards earn category bonuses, but for the sake of simplicity  I’ve calculated the manufactured spending requirements based on non-bonus spend, which is 1 point per $1 for all cards except for the Barclay Arrival Plus card, which earns 2 miles per $1 spent along with a 10% rebate when miles are used for travel redemptions (which is factored in).

Note: Scroll right to see calculations past Category 6

 Category 1Category 2Category 3Category 4Category 5Category 6Category 7
Points Per Night5,000 points8,000 points12,000 points15,000 points20,000 points25,000 points30,000 points
Spending on Hyatt/ Sapphire/ Freedom/ Ink Card$5,000$8,000$12,000$15,000$20,000$25,000$30,000
Points + Cash2,500 + $504,000 + $556,000 + $757,500 + $10010,000 + $12512,500 + $15015,000 + $300
Spending on Hyatt/ Sapphire/ Freedom/ Ink Card + Arrival Plus Card$2,500
+ $2,250 Arrival Miles


Total: $4,750
$4,000
+ $2,475 Arrival Miles


Total: $6,475
$6,000
+ $3,375 Arrival Miles


Total: $9,375
$7,500
+ $4,500 Arrival Miles


Total: $10,500
$10,000
+ $5,625 Arrival Miles


Total: $15,625
$12,500
+ $6,750 Arrival Miles


Total: $19,250
$15,000 +13,500
Arrival Miles


Total: $28,500
Cash Rate
When to book through Ultimate RewardsCash rate is $60 or lessCash rate is $96 or lessCash rate is $144 or lessCash rate is $180 or lessCash rate is $240 or lessCash rate is $300 or lessCash rate is $360 or less
When to Redeem Arrival Plus MilesCash rate is $111 or lessCash rate is $177 or lessCash rate is $266 or lessCash rate is $333 or lessCash rate is $444 or lessCash rate is $555 or lessCash rate is $666 or less

Barring category bonuses, the Hyatt Points + Cash redemption using the Barclay Arrival Plus card requires the least amount of manufactured spending for free nights. The most drastic savings between standard point redemptions and Points + Cash is a total of $5,750 in manufactured spending on Category 6 hotels. Again, when it comes time to actually redeem points and the cash rate offered is less than the ones listed in the table, then booking cash is the best option.

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Ariana Arghandewal

11 Comments

  1. It looks like manufacturing spending for category 4 must be 7,500 (not 6,000). This also will change totals from $16,000 to $17,500 and from $10,500 to $12,000. Total changes for category 4 will be $3,000

  2. I don’t think the calculation makes sense without using category bonuses. It would be nice if you went through this analysis using category bonuses such as 5x at office supplies stores for the Ink. A category 5 hotel would only cost $4,000 in MS which drastically changes this analysis.

    • Thanks for your feedback Jessica. That’s absolutely true, but I assumed most folks would know that the 5x bonus from Ink would require the least amount of ms. By just including the standard 1 point (since that is how most of us are earning our points these days, unfortunately), I figured folks could use the calculations to figure that 5x would incur 1/5 of the cost. For the sake of simplicity, I skipped the bonuses.

    • I would have never pegged you for having separation anxiety, Pat. You do seem to be putting your points to great use though!

    • Ditto–great term. I am 6 mos. into the hobby, have accumulated a nice little pile of points/miles and am looking at the thousands of possibilities. It’s like a lot of saved cash–the “everything is possible” feeling is so good, you don’t want to let it go by having to choose just one or two options!

  3. Looking at your example with the Arrival Plus Card, I’m assuming you are calculating the 10% miles back. My understanding of Arrival Miles is that you don’t get the 10% back until you actually redeem the required points correct? Meaning for your example on Cat 1, you still need to spend $2,500 to earn 5,000 arrival miles to cover the $5,000. Then you will get the 500 arrival miles back for future use. Is this correct?

    • That’s true. It’s a bit tricky because yes, you do need those miles in your account, but ultimately you’re using 10% fewer miles. That’s why I factored 10% into the calculation but included an explanation above the chart.

  4. Good analysis. One thing to note that Hyatt doesn’t allow C&P for premium rooms (lounge access, upgraded floor/room etc.).
    It will be good to see other hotel compare with Hyatt like Club Carlson, Marriott, SPG, IHG and Hilton.

    • The upside is you can use a Diamond suite upgrade to get a suite, which also gets you lounge access. Plus, a lot of times they’ll upgrade Diamond members to a club level room or grant them access to the lounge so they don’t have to give them breakfast in the restaurant. Overall, it works out nicely if you have elite status!

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